4 Ways to Increase Your Staff’s Productivity

Each member of a small business’s staff has an important role to play, and if an individual isn’t working at full capacity, it can quickly have a negative impact on day-to-day operations. Short of firing someone who isn’t pulling his or her weight, what can you do as a business owner to boost productivity? These 4 tips will help you help your employees work smarter and harder.

1. Huddle up

A brief huddle in the morning or at the start of each shift is a great way to help employees focus on their most important tasks and get energized. Have each staff member identify their top goal for the day, and let them know how you’ll be there to support them in reaching those goals.

2. Encourage Breaks

It may seem counterintuitive, but encouraging employees to take breaks and facilitating company-wide outings, celebrations, and happy hours can actually help your staff be more productive. The happier your employees are, the harder they’ll want to work when they’re on duty. Consider what makes sense based on your budget, hours, and staff size before adding regular events to the calendar.

3. Help Prioritize

Sometimes, employees can become overwhelmed when they have too many to-dos on their list. When possible, help prioritize which items are most important each day, week, and month. Breaking down tasks into more manageable chunks will help keep the wheels turning and boost productivity.

4. Stop Micromanaging

As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to define goals, help troubleshoot problems, and give guidance when asked for. However, it’s not your job to micromanage. Once you’ve clearly established your expectations, sit back and let your staff do their jobs the way that works best for them. They’ll ultimately be more productive, even if they might not do things exactly the same way you would.

The Bottom Line

Clearly setting goals each day, providing the proper amount of support, giving employees breaks together to team-build, and trusting your staff to do the jobs you hired them to do are all great ways to boost productivity. If none of these strategies make an impact, then it may be time to reevaluate the responsibilities you’ve assigned to individual employees or consider letting go of staff members with chronic performance issues.

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8 Ways Restaurants Should Use Social Media

The importance of marketing your restaurant is exponentially increasing and, at this point, is a necessity for any restaurant. There are many avenues one can take regarding marketing, but we will focus on Social Media. 

Facebook Marketing

Facebook is a tool that is crucial for any restaurant, but it is important to utilize it efficiently. Providing visuals of your food and restaurant to your customers gives them a first-hand experience of what their visit will be like.

1. Food Photos

Visualizing the food within the restaurant creates a categorically different experience opposed to just reading about the restaurant. I know when I’m looking for a restaurant one of the first things I check is how good the food looks.

2. Page Tabs

Implementing different sections within Facebook helps keep the customer engaged with your restaurant’s page. The first few tabs they see are critical. Integrating your menu onto your Facebook page gives the customer the best insight as to what they can expect at your restaurant.

3. Exclusive Offers and Group Deals

Offers and deals will help keep customers engaged and motivate them to ‘like’ your page. 58% of Facebook users expect offers and deals once they become fans.

4. Contests and Sweepstakes

While discounts are a great way for initial interest, contests are a great way to keep them coming back.  Sweepstakes and contest that require your audience to check back at a later date is one of the best ways to guarantee prolonged engagement.

Instagram Marketing

5. Hashtags

Using hashtags helps increase the restaurants visibility on Instagram by making your content searchable. Every hashtag you add to a picture is a new way for your audience to find your business.

6. Posting Menu Items

People are going on Instagram for one reason, to look at pictures! Pictures are a great way to catch a potential customer’s eye. 

Twitter Marketing

7. Link to Your Menu

Placing links inside your tweets is a wonderful opportunity to direct your audience to your website. What’s the best part of your website for your potential customers to see? Your menu! 79% of people are incentivized by a positive comment regarding the food or menu.

8. Timing Your Tweets

Pushing out a message for a specific time can help bring in new business (ie, timing a tweet to go out when it is most relevant) At noon send out: “Come check out our new #lunch specials.”

Social media is only becoming more important in the ways that consumers are choosing where to eat. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a necessity for restaurant owners looking to attract new customers. Follow SinglePlatform on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more ways to get discovered everywhere that matters across the web.

5 Ways to Help Employees Cope with Change

Often people are uncomfortable with change. Routines are comforting. It doesn’t matter if the change is for the better or for the worse—the unknown is scary. Changes, however, are a natural part of a business’s lifecycle, and big changes can often lead to disgruntled staff members. While you may not be able to impact your staff’s first reaction, you can control how you prepare them for the transition. Here are 5 ways to help your employees cope with a major change.

1. Explain the Why, When, and How

When introducing a change, give as much detail as possible about why the change is happening, when the change will go into effect, and what the process will look like. Eliminating as many unknowns as you can will give people fewer details to worry about.

2. Focus on the Positive

Most changes have both a positive and a negative side, but when presenting to your staff, focus as much as you can on the positive. If you remain upbeat and optimistic, your employees are more likely to take a similar attitude.

3. Listen Openly to Concerns

Even after a clear rundown of what’s happening and why, your staff may raise concerns. Listen to them with an open ear and provide any additional information and reassurance your staff needs to accept the coming change. Your employees are a resource and may provide insights that you haven’t considered before.

4. Address Issues within Your Control

If there are factors causing concerns among your staff that you can control, do what you can to address them. Even if you can’t fix everything, showing that you’re listening to your employees’ concerns and taking them seriously will instill trust with your team.

5. Provide Adequate Training and Support

If your business change involves new processes or procedures, make sure to provide ample training and support to set your staff up for success. Part of the stress from change is felling unprepared for new tasks. Reassuring your employees that you will support them through this transition will ease some tension.

You can’t change human nature, but you can make it easier for your staff to move from fear to acceptance by providing clear information, listening to concerns, making adjustments to address those concerns, and creating a solid training plan for new processes. For more tips on running a successful local business, sign up for our newsletter below:

Social Media Management Tools for Your Local Business

78% of Americans use at least one social media site, which means social media is an important resource for you to communicate with customers. Social media usage has increased year over year making this marketing channel important for the future of your business.

Not only do social media platforms facilitate communication, studies show that 74% of consumers rely on social media to make purchasing decisions. While there are several social media platforms to choose from, Facebook and Twitter are a great place to start; 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online.

To help you manage your social media presence on the web, we’ve compiled a list of the best social media management tools available:

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite allows you to manage any of your social media platforms from a centralized dashboard from Facebook to FourSquare. With the ability to schedule and publish posts, communicate with all audiences, and track interaction histories, Hootsuite is perfect for local business owners focused on increasing reach on multiple social media platforms.

Offering four different plans (including one that’s free), Hootsuite Pro and Hootsuite Business have the features best for local businesses. Learn more about Hootsuite plans and pricing.

2. TweetDeck

Specifically designed for Twitter users, TweetDeck is an add-on tool that enables people to monitor multiple timelines via one interface, schedule tweets, manage a twitter account with multiple owners, and filter searches based on different criteria.

Best for people desiring organization and real-time streaming on Twitter, TweetDeck is a free way to increase engagement and activity. Learn more about how to add TweetDeck to your account.

3. Sprout Social

From one dashboard, manage your accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram with Sprout Social. With features that enable you to publish and schedule content, respond to questions and concerns, as well as create a social media marketing plan, this product is ideal for local businesses who have one to three people in charge of social media and desire more in-depth analytics reporting.

Choose from three different plans, each designed for business owners of various levels of social media expertise. Learn more about Social Sprout’s features and pricing options.

4. Buffer for Business

Buffer for Business’s features focus on driving traffic, increasing fan engagement and saving time on social media. Connect between 11 and 150 social accounts and allow up to 25 employees manage your social media profiles.

Best for people who already have a solid grip on the ins and outs of social media, Buffer for Business allows 2,000 scheduled posts per profile and analytics to track your progress. Learn more about Buffer for Business’s pricing.

5. DrumUp

Similar to other social media management tools, DrumUp also hosts a centralized dashboard to view and manage all linked social media accounts. In addition to timeline monitoring, DrumUp suggests relevant content to your audiences, allows scheduling and publishing and recommends hashtags to use for related posts.

Best for people who want to stay on top of industry news as well as share it with their audiences, DrumUp offers four different plans. Learn more about Drum Up’s pricing.

Managing social media platforms for your local business can fall to the bottom of your to-do list, but using a social media management tool can streamline the task of reaching out online. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can manage your online presence on the top search engines, review and travel sites, mobile apps and online directories.

4 Pet Industry Trends for 2016

The pet services industry has been a growing juggernaut over the past few years with many experts referring to the industry as recession-proof. In a growing industry, it’s important for pet service providers to stay on top of the ever-changing needs of pet owners. Here are four major trends to watch for in 2016:

1.    Pet Industry Entrepreneurs

With the immense growth in this industry over the past few years, entrepreneurs have been drawn to the field hoping to capitalize on the influx of capital and the ever-growing demand. Now that 62% of households own pets, the field is ripe for innovation. It’s important for small business owners in the industry to keep an eye on the expanding market of services and products available for all kinds of critters. 

2.    High-Income Pet Owners

The more discretionary income a household has, the more money that can be spent on pets. High-income pet owners are estimated to make up 60% of all spending in the pets sector. Pet service providers should consider adding services that cater to high-income earners. Adding luxury services or upsell options might be a good bet with these customers.  

3.    Needs of Aging Pets

Older pets require more care. In January of 2015, 39% of dog owners and 43% of cat owners cared of elderly pets. While these animals might not require as much stimulation as a puppy, they do have their own unique needs. A dog walker who has training in administering medication while a pet owner is at work could be a new need for many pet owners who want to care for their aging furry friends in the best way they can.

4.    Pets as Children

Pets are becoming a more integral part of the family than they have ever been. People’s perception of pets have shifted from man’s best friend to man’s surrogate child. Pets are now most popular amongst couples with adult children, unmarried professionals, and childless couples. These groups have resources to spend on their pets and enough time to care for them. Consider this shift in attitudes when communicating with pet owners. Illustrate that you understand your customers and you take the care of their pets as seriously as they do.

The pet industry continues to grow and change at a staggering pace. For small business owners, keeping up with industry news and trends can be overwhelming, especially in a time when technology is dramatically changing the way, consumers connect with services. SinglePlatform is here to help. Check out the ways we are helping businesses like yours stand out everywhere that matters.  




Wearable Tech and Your Restaurant

Danny Meyer, the 30 year-old NYC restaurateur behind Shake Shack, made a huge announcement last week at the TableTech Summit that has created a buzz in the restaurant community. When Meyer’s hallmark restaurant Union Square Cafe reopens later this month all managers and sommeliers will be sporting a new accessory: the Apple Watch. This isn’t merely a fashion statement. Meyer has kicked off a program in which wearable tech will integrate with his new POS system.

Meyer will be implementing a new POS system from Resy, which will alert any managers or sommelier to important issues throughout the restaurant in hopes of saving steps and increasing efficiency to the dining experience. All alerts will be through an app that is accessible form mobile technology. Managers can send an alert to coat check when a table is preparing to leave so that the coats are ready as they exit. When a bottle of wine is ordered, the sommelier is immediately alerted and can bring the wine to the table, saving some back and forth.

Resy is completely run via mobile technology, from a tablet at the host station to wearable tech on the managers and sommeliers, and can eliminate the need for a POS kiosk. Meyer has made the decision that servers will not be on the Resy system at this point in time. While this system might be a reach for many smaller restaurants to incorporate, the idea of using new tech in your restaurant may be more accessible that you think. Check out some of our round ups of best tech for local businesses to learn more.

Union Square Cafe is set to reopen in Late October and we’ll be watching to see how the Apple Watch affects the overall experience of dining at the establishment. Stay updated on the latest news and restaurant industry trends by signing up for our newsletter below: